How is not the same as why

Michael Ramsden is a genius. But I misunderstood something he said a while back. And that misunderstanding jammed up my telling of my story of coming to Christ.

He was speaking on apologetics. Brilliant talk. You should listen to it sometime. He was pointing out a problem with the way we often answer people's questions about our faith.

When people ask us why we are Christians, we often answer with how we became Christians. So and so invited me to such and such and I heard this and that and so I became a Christian. It's all very relative. If I had gone with someone else to somewhere else, I'd be something else. Make sense?

"How" is not the same as "why."

In our pluralistic world, the "how/why" distinction is so important. I understood that. But I misunderstood Michael.

I thought that my personal "how" was irrelevant in a post-modern, pluralistic society. Since no one else will follow the same path to faith I followed (thanks, Heraclitus), what good is it for them to know my path?

I have some ideas about that, but maybe you could think about it for a day. Why would it be good or helpful for someone to know someone else's path to faith?


  1. Because if the account is related honestly enough(very often,such accounts aren't, as you have pointed out. Very often they are embellished or inflated or fall back into formulas or are missing some key aspect.), it may make sense or "ring true" to an onlooker who knows the speaker and, if not belied too much (nobody's perfect) by the speaker's later conduct, thus be more evidence of the truth of the Gospel and the reality of God's action in the world and in our lives; that is, God's ability and willingness to save and change us.

    When Jesus spoke, his words "rang true." "Never a man spake as this man."

  2. Yeah, Larry...sometimes the personal "rings true" more easily and more deeply for people than the abstract.

    And on top of that, I think it can be hope-giving. If God can do that for him/her, maybe he can do that for me.